(Supplied photo shows medical workers involved in treating patients in Wuhan, China)

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday visited Wuhan, the epicenter of China's new-coronavirus outbreak, state media reported, likely showcasing his hands-on approach to efforts to contain the deadly epidemic.

Xi's first visit to the central Chinese city since the outbreak comes as the country marked the fourth day in a row the number of newly reported infections was under 100, with 19 additional cases in mainland China.

The president visited residents quarantined at their homes in Wuhan after making a stop at a hospital to inspect epidemic prevention and control work, a Xinhua News Agency report said, adding that he expressed gratitude to those working on the epidemic on the front line.

Cases of new-coronavirus infection emerged in Wuhan late last year. Since then, nearly 50,000 people have been found infected in the city of 11 million, with over 2,400 deaths, according to an official media tally.

But the tally also shows nearly 32,000 of the COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals. The National Health Commission reported 17 new cases in Wuhan on Tuesday.

As the number of new infections in the worst-hit city continued to drop, state-run media reported that the remaining two of the 16 temporary hospitals built in Wuhan to accommodate the patients will be closed Tuesday.

The Xi visit also comes as the lockdown on Wuhan since late January to stamp out the outbreak appears to have taken a toll on residents' everyday lives and work.

In one episode last week, a top Chinese official who visited Wuhan was reportedly heckled by dissatisfied residents as she inspected the prevention and control efforts of a neighborhood committee.

Protesting neighbors accused property management of cheating them by only appearing to provide promised necessities, state-run media reported.

During his visit to Wuhan on Tuesday, Xi learned about community-based efforts at "ensuring people's daily necessities supply," the Xinhua report said.

The number of overall cases in the country has reached 80,754.

Over a 24-hour period to the end of Monday, there were 17 new deaths from the virus, all in Hubei Province, of which Wuhan serves as its capital, raising the nationwide toll to 3,136, according to the commission.

Of the 19 newly confirmed cases, two had been imported from abroad, the commission said, marking the third straight day of no new locally transmitted cases outside of Hubei.

Maintaining the central government's heightened vigilance toward imported infections, Premier Li Keqiang called Monday for stricter prevention and control measures against imported cases.

The premier's calls at a high-level government meeting included better screening at ports and a suspension or reduction in sending and accepting study abroad students.

In a related move, China on Tuesday temporarily suspended a 15-day visa waiver program for Japanese tourists. Japanese citizens who visit China for business or to meet with their kin continue to be exempt from visa requirements.

Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong authorities have already started enforcing a 14-day quarantine and observation since last week for those traveling from severely infected countries, including Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy.

Meanwhile, organizers of the Boao Forum for Asia, a key regional economic forum often billed as Asia's alternative to the World Economic Forum in Davos, said Tuesday that the event has been postponed indefinitely.

The forum, initially scheduled for later this month, joins a rising number of global events postponed due to the spread of the virus.

The conference has been held annually since 2002. Government officials and business leaders from home and abroad were to gather for four days from March 24 in the southern island province of Hainan.

Meanwhile, authorities in southeastern China's Fujian Province have confirmed 20 deaths in the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in the coastal city of Quanzhou, local media reported.

Of the 71 people who were trapped in the rubble of Xinja Express Hotel, 41 have been rescued and the remaining 10 remain trapped.

The 80-room hotel, which was being used for the medical observation of people who had contact with coronavirus patients, suddenly collapsed on Saturday evening.

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